Yesterday I wrote about the inadequacy of self, and today I want to write about the necessity of self. These two concepts are not in opposition to each other; they are both true, and are complementary. Without God, we cannot; without us, God will not.
In the beginning, God made apple trees from nothing. Ever since then, however, He has required us to plant an apple seed before He will produce an apple tree. Therefore, if we want apples, we must plant a seed…which will produce a tree…which will produce apples.
God has given you your own free will. You can make decisions. You have choices. You must live your own life; no one can live it for you – not even God. If you want a life with God, therefore, you must plant yourself in Him. If you abide in Him like a seed abides in the soil, then you will bear fruit for Him like a seed bears fruit for us. This is your faith, and without faith it is impossible to please Him. With faith, all things are possible. Why are all things possible with faith? Because with God all things are possible and it is faith that keeps us connected to Him.
It is therefore by faith that we take up our cross daily and follow Him. For apart from an abiding trust in His goodness and power, what sense does it make to suffer for doing what is right? Jesus did not endure the cross because He was a glutton for punishment. Rather, He believed in the resurrection He had been promised…even though no one had ever experienced or seen a resurrection like that before. Bearing a cross only makes sense if there is something of great value on the other side of it.
God can do great things in your life and in your family’s life, but only if you keep yourself firmly planted in His presence. Those who avoid His presence have no power to keep His commandments. In His presence, you can do everything He tells you. And this will lead – through occasional and sometimes bitter hardship – to blessing after blessing.